St. Louis Auto Dealer Group Gives Back to Local Community
- Bommarito Auto Group helped raise $250,000 for local high school scholarships.
- The St. Louis-based dealer donates new vehicles for fundraisers, including the Salvation Army.
- Bommarito employees suggest charities in need of financial support.
ST. LOUIS — Bommarito Automotive Group President John Bommarito believes "that once a community has been good to you, you want to be good to them. So we want to give back to the community that has been good to us."
One of the largest private automotive groups in the country with13 franchises and more than 600 employees, Bommarito has a long history of charitable works.
The family-owned, family-operated group sponsors an annual golf tournament called the CBC Alumni Open. In 2013, the tournament raised $250,000 for scholarships to a local private high school. During the past nine years, the tournament has raised more than $2 million.
For the third summer in a row, Bommarito teamed up with local NFL first-round draft pick and current NFL player Jeremy Maclin to offer a clinic for local student athletes. The clinic is a two-day event that gives young players an opportunity to learn football fundamentals from the pros. In 2013, Bommarito gave 15 scholarships to attend the exclusive camp.
"You'll see us really involved in youth sports: football, basketball. Our whole mission with this is to give kids like you, young adults, exposure through these types of programs, and it eventually may be your ticket to college," said Bommarito, in his introduction to the young participants of the Jeremy Maclin Football Camp in summer 2013.
"Youth sports teach structure, discipline, leadership and teamwork. Teamwork is one of the most important things you're going to take on all through your life."
The clinic is staffed by college and pro football players.
Committed to more than sports, Bommarito Volkswagen donates use of a new vehicle to the local Hazelwood Police Department. The vehicle is driven by department volunteers for community patrol services. The donated vehicles are traded in for a new car every 6,000 miles.
Bommarito Auto Group donates, on average, five new vehicles per year to local charities and fund-raising events. Since 2008, the dealer group has donated a new vehicle every year to be raffled off in support of The Salvation Army Tree of Lights campaign.
With Bommarito's help, the 2012 campaign raised more than $40,000. The raffle winner last year received a 2013 Volkswagen Passat.
There is often a personal connection to the community outreach Bommarito performs.
After being involved in a minor car accident with a person who admitted to being distracted by a cell phone conversation, company founder Frank Bommarito looked to raise awareness about the issues of texting while driving. He has recorded a public service announcement about the dangers of distracted driving, which is shown on local TV stations.
Some of the dealer group's charitable efforts are recommended by Bommarito employees whose lives have been impacted by specific charities.
"That not only allows us to do something worthwhile, but it also helps our employees to really get behind the fund-raising efforts, too," says Craig Gaby, sales manager at Bommarito Honda.
Gaby's youngest son has Asperger's syndrome, a disorder on the autism spectrum. When Gaby suggested that the Bommarito Auto Group become involved with the autism advocacy group, Autism Speaks, the dealership agreed.
Bommarito quickly became a sponsor of the St. Louis Chapter of Autism Speaks, and set up a special purchase program for the group's supporters and family members, with $100 per vehicle sold being donated to the local advocacy group.
Thanks to another employee suggestion, Bommarito supports Hilljack House, whose mission is to help people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. The group also proudly supports the St. Louis Regional Chapter of the ALS Association, a nonprofit organization that fights Lou Gehrig's disease.
"St. Louis is a big city with a small town mentality. This is a close-knit community. You need to treat people right, and being a part of our community is something we are honored and proud to do," says Gaby.
Bommarito Auto Group's franchises include: Audi, Buick GMC , Cadillac, Chevy, Ford, Honda, Infiniti, Nissan, Mazda West County Mazda St. Peters, Mazda South County, Volkswagen St. Peters and Volkswagen Hazelwood.
Edmunds says: Being a good neighbor is more than just a catch phrase at Bommarito, as evidenced by its commitment to the local community.